Here at Capital Placement, we are all about creating and finding our candidates the internship of their dreams! However, we do not fail to recognise that internships may not be for everyone, or it may not be the right time to do one. Therefore, we’ve compiled seven alternatives to internships that will also boost your CV, and help you gain a diverse and impressive skill set to set you apart from the rest.

 1. Volunteering

 Photo by Crew 

Although volunteering doesn’t help with the zeros in your bank account, it does still help grow your CV and also yourself. How so? Well, the main benefit of volunteering is to work to assist and empower others. It will not only highlight how compassionate and selfless you are to potential employers, but also showcase your work ethic, leadership skills, and ability to perform and adapt in any work environment. Additionally, there are many different types of volunteering! There are options to volunteer in charities, NGO’s, sports, fundraising and administration – the list goes on and on. Do your research and find an organisation that interests you.

Volunteering goes even further than this. It helps you feel like part of a community and teaches you other valuable life lessons that you will find useful in the future. You can start volunteering in your neighbourhood or go bigger and volunteer abroad. Regardless of where you decide to volunteer, one thing’s for sure: it is a great internship alternative and will help you increase both your professional and personal skill set.

2. Get a Part-Time Job

internship alternatives

Photo by Crew

If you are looking to pick up some extra cash to boost your account, then consider getting a part-time job. The obvious benefit to this, of course, is getting paid, but you can also use this for some additional perks.

A part-time job will help you gain a particular skill set that is often not taught in your university classrooms. This includes learning how to work as part of a team and learning how to work in high-pressure environments. It will show you how to take the initiative and develop an eye for detail. Awesome, right? Well, it goes even further than that! Since most student jobs are usually in hospitality or retail, it requires you to interact with loads of different types of people and personalities. As a result, it will teach you how to confidently and comfortably talk to others that you don’t know on a personal level.

Developing those crucial interpersonal skills from your part-time job is something you can highlight on your CV.

Though a part-time job is not the same as an internship, you can still use it to build a professional network. Use your time at your job to get to know people around you, since they may help you meet others who either work in your desired career field or know how to get an internship in it. This will not only grow your professional network in various areas but also teach you how to become comfortable with the idea of networking itself. In addition to gaining all these newly acquired skills, you’ll even win the respect of your future employer as it shows your ability to balance a workload and prioritise!

Don’t believe in the power of a part-time job? Check out this blog to look at some additional benefits of it.

3. Learn Some New Skills

internship scholarships

Photo by Thought Catalog

Another internship alternative would be to learn some new skills to plush up your CV. Now, we know that you may have just graduated from university or just finished your spring semester, so why would you want to learn something else – but hear us out! Learning new skills can be incredibly beneficial to the future of your career. You now have some free time to acquire valuable skills that you previously may not have been able to learn, such as learning how to code or dipping your toes in Digital Marketing. Furthermore, the world of learning has grown exponentially, and now you can take online classes and a lot of them are free. Websites such as Coursera or Skillshare help fuel your creativity to learn anything from design, business, IT, writing, entrepreneurship, and more, so that you can transfer those newly acquired skills to your CV!

How is this beneficial?

First off, it gives you a more diverse set of skills that can help give you an edge over your future competition in the job market. Secondly, it shows your dedication to learning new things, which is key skill employers are looking for. Thirdly, if you’re still at university, you can take classes related to your degree that may allow you to finish your degree early (be sure to check with your university first!), open up more opportunities to study, intern abroad, or give you a head start on the next year’s content. Sounds like a win-win situation to us!

4. Job Shadowing

alternative internship- job shadowing

Photo by Mimi Thian

Instead of completing an internship, another option would be to shadow a job in your chosen field. Job shadowing has a lot of benefits and is helpful if you have no prior work experience. Additionally, job shadowing is quite popular in industries where the nature of the roles means that getting an internship may not be practically possible, e.g. doctor, paramedic, judge, or aircraft engineer, amongst others. The main purpose of job shadowing is to gain professional development which is useful for future internships or full-time employment. It will allow you to gain insight into the life of employers and working culture.

By shadowing…

You can see first-hand how the theory you’ve learnt is being applied in a practical setting, which will only help you gain a better knowledge of the field. Furthermore, watching and learning from those already in the field will give a different perspective on your dream career, as well as helping you determine whether this type of work is for you. Grasping and gaining a clear understanding as to why you want your particular job will translate clearly to future employers and show that you are a confident and determined person. 

Most people think that job shadowing is just observing from afar, aka being a “fly on the wall”, but there are two other types of job shadowing. One form of job shadowing is known as a regular briefing or “burst interaction”. Essentially, it means that you will shadow an employee on a specific activity so that you may better understand that particular role. Another form is a little more hands-on, known as “job sharing”. This particular form involves a combination of observation and action, which allows you to carry out tasks after having observed how they are done.  

Okay, but how do you even get started with job shadowing?

Firstly, reach out to your network. Ask your parents, professors, advisors and friends if they know of any job opportunities. When you’re ready, take it a step further and to smaller companies on LinkedIn. Let them know what you’re looking for and why you have chosen them to shadow. If your dream company is quite big, then do some research and find out if they host job shadowing days, which is where companies meet with university students for the opportunity of job shadowing at their company. 

Overall, job shadowing can help you gain work experience while also expanding your professional development skills. It puts you in direct contact with someone who works in your chosen field, therefore creating a very valuable network for your future career aspirations.

5. Remote Internships 

Alternative Internships- Remote Internships

Photo by Mimi Thian

Okay, so we are cheating a little with this next option as it still technically an internship, but who says you have to get internship experience from an office? In the world of technology, the number of remote internships is increasing. Working remotely is not a new concept, but actually rather common, with many companies like Buffer – a 100% remote company with over one billion dollars’ worth of revenue. As a matter of fact, there are several companies who have permanent roles that are entirely remote.

So, what is a remote internship? It is just like any other internship, except that you don’t actually have to go anywhere and the work can be done from wherever you are at the moment.

Generally, the way that remote internships work involves speaking to your employer at the beginning of each week to discuss any upcoming assignments or things that must be done that week. Then, you would regularly check-in with your boss or line manager via Slack, Trello, or Dropbox. It will require you to be comfortable working independently while sustaining a great line of communication between you and other co-workers.

They are a lot of benefits to doing remote internships.

First, it is still an internship – and as we all know, internships look great on our CV. Another benefit is that you would be able to save money because you don’t have to commute. You can work from home or a cute little coffee shop near your place. You also don’t have to worry about relocating for internships, if the organisation is based in a different city to you. Remote internships also have the benefit of being flexible. You are usually able to work on your own time, which can be helpful if you’re doing summer classes or doing a remote internship during the school year. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, a remote internship gives more freedom and independence than a traditional internship. This not only grows your ability to work independently, but may also give you breathing room to come up with some creative suggestions for future tasks. Check out this blog to find some positions working remotely!

Overall, the ability to enjoy remote internships really depends on you and your situation. Be sure to do your research to find out if this style of working would suit you.

6. Try your hand at freelancing

Alternative Internships - Freelancing

Photo by Corinne Kutz

Another internship alternative to consider is freelancing. We note that freelancing is similar to a remote internship in that they are both, in fact, remote. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. As a remote intern, you are given work as if you were a regular intern at the company – whereas as a freelancer, you must go out and find the work yourself. If you are able to be your own boss, then freelancing may be worth a shot, but we do warn you that freelancing isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of self-discipline and organisation and involves going out to find prospective clients. Despite this, freelancing does have quite a few benefits. 

First off, freelancing offers you a lot of freedom and flexibility that you may not have with a part-time job or internship.

This helps promote your independence, organisational skills, and freedom to explore your own creativity. Additionally, you are free to choose who you work for and what projects interest you, without any restrictions. The advantage of this, of course, is that it will help you discover what you are really passionate about. Another great thing about freelancing is that it allows you to learn a lot about your field and therefore helps you become an expert in your own craft. Your expertise and experience in this particular field will set you apart from the rest when it comes to applying for future jobs. Also, there are so many platforms dedicated solely to freelancing, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelance.com and more. Take a look and get started today! 

Altogether, it is certain that freelancing will give you interpersonal skills, the ability to work independently, better organisational and communication skills, and great experience in your chosen field. All of this helps build a strong CV for your future career goals. It’s definitely something worth considering.

7. Travelling Abroad

Alternative Internships - Travel abroad

Photo by Jeshoots 

Last but not least on our list of internship alternatives is travelling abroad. Gustav Flaubert once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. Though Flaubert is quite right, he left out how travelling abroad can also change the quality of your CV. Because travelling abroad involves discovering new places, cultures, and languages, it will massively improve your communication skills. How? Well, being immersed in other languages and adapting to unfamiliar places requires you to speak to new people, often in your non-native language. So the more you travel, the better and more comfortable you become communicating with different sorts of people.

Strong communication skills? Check!

Along with better communication skills, travelling will also help you create a vast and diverse networking group. Why is this useful? Networking helps you become more visible in the right sort of people. People who work in your dream job, people who can help you work abroad, people who know people to help you get places. Having a strong network will only help you get access to better opportunities. Travelling abroad will give you the chance to network with literally anyone in the world. The world is your oyster and you are sure to find someone who can help you with your career.

Lastly…

Travelling abroad increases your global competency. In a world that seems to be shrinking due to technology, global competency is valuable to future employers. They are looking for someone who can understand cultures and work practices across the world, and transfer that valuable information to their company. Going abroad can definitely help you obtain such a sought after skill.

Altogether, jet-setting into unknown lands not only does wonders for your soul, but also for your CV.

Final Thoughts

So, even though internships are a great thing to add to your CV, we’ve shown you 7 alternatives that will also help you stand out to employers. Whether you decide to do a remote internship or travel to the other side of the world, one thing is certain: your CV won’t be lacking in newly-acquired skills. 

What are your thoughts on internship alternatives? Let us know below!

Here at Capital Placement, we are all about creating and finding our candidates the internship of their dreams! However, we do not fail to recognise that internships may not be for everyone, or it may not be the right time to do one. Therefore, we’ve compiled seven alternatives to internships that will also boost your CV, and help you gain a diverse and impressive skill set to set you apart from the rest.

 1. Volunteering

 Photo by Crew 

Although volunteering doesn’t help with the zeros in your bank account, it does still help grow your CV and also yourself. How so? Well, the main benefit of volunteering is to work to assist and empower others. It will not only highlight how compassionate and selfless you are to potential employers, but also showcase your work ethic, leadership skills, and ability to perform and adapt in any work environment. Additionally, there are many different types of volunteering! There are options to volunteer in charities, NGO’s, sports, fundraising and administration – the list goes on and on. Do your research and find an organisation that interests you.

Volunteering goes even further than this. It helps you feel like part of a community and teaches you other valuable life lessons that you will find useful in the future. You can start volunteering in your neighbourhood or go bigger and volunteer abroad. Regardless of where you decide to volunteer, one thing’s for sure: it is a great internship alternative and will help you increase both your professional and personal skill set.

2. Get a Part-Time Job

internship alternatives

Photo by Crew

If you are looking to pick up some extra cash to boost your account, then consider getting a part-time job. The obvious benefit to this, of course, is getting paid, but you can also use this for some additional perks.

A part-time job will help you gain a particular skill set that is often not taught in your university classrooms. This includes learning how to work as part of a team and learning how to work in high-pressure environments. It will show you how to take the initiative and develop an eye for detail. Awesome, right? Well, it goes even further than that! Since most student jobs are usually in hospitality or retail, it requires you to interact with loads of different types of people and personalities. As a result, it will teach you how to confidently and comfortably talk to others that you don’t know on a personal level.

Developing those crucial interpersonal skills from your part-time job is something you can highlight on your CV.

Though a part-time job is not the same as an internship, you can still use it to build a professional network. Use your time at your job to get to know people around you, since they may help you meet others who either work in your desired career field or know how to get an internship in it. This will not only grow your professional network in various areas but also teach you how to become comfortable with the idea of networking itself. In addition to gaining all these newly acquired skills, you’ll even win the respect of your future employer as it shows your ability to balance a workload and prioritise!

Don’t believe in the power of a part-time job? Check out this blog to look at some additional benefits of it.

3. Learn Some New Skills

internship scholarships

Photo by Thought Catalog

Another internship alternative would be to learn some new skills to plush up your CV. Now, we know that you may have just graduated from university or just finished your spring semester, so why would you want to learn something else – but hear us out! Learning new skills can be incredibly beneficial to the future of your career. You now have some free time to acquire valuable skills that you previously may not have been able to learn, such as learning how to code or dipping your toes in Digital Marketing. Furthermore, the world of learning has grown exponentially, and now you can take online classes and a lot of them are free. Websites such as Coursera or Skillshare help fuel your creativity to learn anything from design, business, IT, writing, entrepreneurship, and more, so that you can transfer those newly acquired skills to your CV!

How is this beneficial?

First off, it gives you a more diverse set of skills that can help give you an edge over your future competition in the job market. Secondly, it shows your dedication to learning new things, which is key skill employers are looking for. Thirdly, if you’re still at university, you can take classes related to your degree that may allow you to finish your degree early (be sure to check with your university first!), open up more opportunities to study, intern abroad, or give you a head start on the next year’s content. Sounds like a win-win situation to us!

4. Job Shadowing

alternative internship- job shadowing

Photo by Mimi Thian

Instead of completing an internship, another option would be to shadow a job in your chosen field. Job shadowing has a lot of benefits and is helpful if you have no prior work experience. Additionally, job shadowing is quite popular in industries where the nature of the roles means that getting an internship may not be practically possible, e.g. doctor, paramedic, judge, or aircraft engineer, amongst others. The main purpose of job shadowing is to gain professional development which is useful for future internships or full-time employment. It will allow you to gain insight into the life of employers and working culture.

By shadowing…

You can see first-hand how the theory you’ve learnt is being applied in a practical setting, which will only help you gain a better knowledge of the field. Furthermore, watching and learning from those already in the field will give a different perspective on your dream career, as well as helping you determine whether this type of work is for you. Grasping and gaining a clear understanding as to why you want your particular job will translate clearly to future employers and show that you are a confident and determined person. 

Most people think that job shadowing is just observing from afar, aka being a “fly on the wall”, but there are two other types of job shadowing. One form of job shadowing is known as a regular briefing or “burst interaction”. Essentially, it means that you will shadow an employee on a specific activity so that you may better understand that particular role. Another form is a little more hands-on, known as “job sharing”. This particular form involves a combination of observation and action, which allows you to carry out tasks after having observed how they are done.  

Okay, but how do you even get started with job shadowing?

Firstly, reach out to your network. Ask your parents, professors, advisors and friends if they know of any job opportunities. When you’re ready, take it a step further and to smaller companies on LinkedIn. Let them know what you’re looking for and why you have chosen them to shadow. If your dream company is quite big, then do some research and find out if they host job shadowing days, which is where companies meet with university students for the opportunity of job shadowing at their company. 

Overall, job shadowing can help you gain work experience while also expanding your professional development skills. It puts you in direct contact with someone who works in your chosen field, therefore creating a very valuable network for your future career aspirations.

5. Remote Internships 

Alternative Internships- Remote Internships

Photo by Mimi Thian

Okay, so we are cheating a little with this next option as it still technically an internship, but who says you have to get internship experience from an office? In the world of technology, the number of remote internships is increasing. Working remotely is not a new concept, but actually rather common, with many companies like Buffer – a 100% remote company with over one billion dollars’ worth of revenue. As a matter of fact, there are several companies who have permanent roles that are entirely remote.

So, what is a remote internship? It is just like any other internship, except that you don’t actually have to go anywhere and the work can be done from wherever you are at the moment.

Generally, the way that remote internships work involves speaking to your employer at the beginning of each week to discuss any upcoming assignments or things that must be done that week. Then, you would regularly check-in with your boss or line manager via Slack, Trello, or Dropbox. It will require you to be comfortable working independently while sustaining a great line of communication between you and other co-workers.

They are a lot of benefits to doing remote internships.

First, it is still an internship – and as we all know, internships look great on our CV. Another benefit is that you would be able to save money because you don’t have to commute. You can work from home or a cute little coffee shop near your place. You also don’t have to worry about relocating for internships, if the organisation is based in a different city to you. Remote internships also have the benefit of being flexible. You are usually able to work on your own time, which can be helpful if you’re doing summer classes or doing a remote internship during the school year. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, a remote internship gives more freedom and independence than a traditional internship. This not only grows your ability to work independently, but may also give you breathing room to come up with some creative suggestions for future tasks. Check out this blog to find some positions working remotely!

Overall, the ability to enjoy remote internships really depends on you and your situation. Be sure to do your research to find out if this style of working would suit you.

6. Try your hand at freelancing

Alternative Internships - Freelancing

Photo by Corinne Kutz

Another internship alternative to consider is freelancing. We note that freelancing is similar to a remote internship in that they are both, in fact, remote. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. As a remote intern, you are given work as if you were a regular intern at the company – whereas as a freelancer, you must go out and find the work yourself. If you are able to be your own boss, then freelancing may be worth a shot, but we do warn you that freelancing isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of self-discipline and organisation and involves going out to find prospective clients. Despite this, freelancing does have quite a few benefits. 

First off, freelancing offers you a lot of freedom and flexibility that you may not have with a part-time job or internship.

This helps promote your independence, organisational skills, and freedom to explore your own creativity. Additionally, you are free to choose who you work for and what projects interest you, without any restrictions. The advantage of this, of course, is that it will help you discover what you are really passionate about. Another great thing about freelancing is that it allows you to learn a lot about your field and therefore helps you become an expert in your own craft. Your expertise and experience in this particular field will set you apart from the rest when it comes to applying for future jobs. Also, there are so many platforms dedicated solely to freelancing, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelance.com and more. Take a look and get started today! 

Altogether, it is certain that freelancing will give you interpersonal skills, the ability to work independently, better organisational and communication skills, and great experience in your chosen field. All of this helps build a strong CV for your future career goals. It’s definitely something worth considering.

7. Travelling Abroad

Alternative Internships - Travel abroad

Photo by Jeshoots 

Last but not least on our list of internship alternatives is travelling abroad. Gustav Flaubert once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. Though Flaubert is quite right, he left out how travelling abroad can also change the quality of your CV. Because travelling abroad involves discovering new places, cultures, and languages, it will massively improve your communication skills. How? Well, being immersed in other languages and adapting to unfamiliar places requires you to speak to new people, often in your non-native language. So the more you travel, the better and more comfortable you become communicating with different sorts of people.

Strong communication skills? Check!

Along with better communication skills, travelling will also help you create a vast and diverse networking group. Why is this useful? Networking helps you become more visible in the right sort of people. People who work in your dream job, people who can help you work abroad, people who know people to help you get places. Having a strong network will only help you get access to better opportunities. Travelling abroad will give you the chance to network with literally anyone in the world. The world is your oyster and you are sure to find someone who can help you with your career.

Lastly…

Travelling abroad increases your global competency. In a world that seems to be shrinking due to technology, global competency is valuable to future employers. They are looking for someone who can understand cultures and work practices across the world, and transfer that valuable information to their company. Going abroad can definitely help you obtain such a sought after skill.

Altogether, jet-setting into unknown lands not only does wonders for your soul, but also for your CV.

Final Thoughts

So, even though internships are a great thing to add to your CV, we’ve shown you 7 alternatives that will also help you stand out to employers. Whether you decide to do a remote internship or travel to the other side of the world, one thing is certain: your CV won’t be lacking in newly-acquired skills. 

What are your thoughts on internship alternatives? Let us know below!

Julia Hurtado

Julia Hurtado

Having spent an entire summer dedicated to travelling abroad, Julia now focuses on helping other students experience life outside their home country. As an American now working in London, Julia enjoys sharing advice on interning abroad, sipping tea (with 2 sugars, 1 milk please) and reading in her spare time.

Top 10 things to do in London during the wintertime

Just because you’re visiting London during the wintertime doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside your room. In fact, London arguably looks even better and offers more to its tourists during the winter. Think open-air ice rinks, Christmas markets, mulled wine,...

read more

The 4-minute Guide to Your London Internship

CP note: We are proud to introduce a blog from one of our own London interns, Vona! In her guide, Vona covers her personal London experience, the best places to invest your time, and resources and the prime locations for some great bargain shopping. Check out the...

read more